19th Century 16-String Zheng

MFA dan-style zither.jpg

From the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, USA comes this wonderful image.

Purchased in 1916 and believed produced in the 1800s in Guangzhou, China, this guzheng is constructed in the Song Dynasty style. It has 16 strings and 16 tie-off pegs on the far right. But only 15 triangular bridges are visible. Why? Because the 1st bridge is actually on the far side of the instrument, pushing the string almost perpendicular to the soundboard. This instrument is so close to a  Vietnamese Dan Tranh it would be so easily confused, but the museum and the Chinese Characters on the tail of the instrument say otherwise.

Bonus: The University of Washington has a similar instrument in their Ethnomusicology Musical Instrument Collection listed as Guzheng 1. Whereas the instrument at the MFA is a bare wood, the UW instrument is coated in a lacquer, much like a Qin. 

Source: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA 

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